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The UK Information Commissioner's office: "Let's bury our bad news on a busy news day"

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Privacy International has frequently criticised the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for shortcomings ranging from timidity to technical ignorance. However, material received from a Freedom of Information request to the Office in September 2011 revealed that the regulator had crossed a line from incompetence to possible malpractice.

The ICO has responsibility for the operation of both the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act in the UK. This dual responsibility is not unusual in the regulatory world, though the combination can lead to a conflict of interest when it comes to FOI requests about the Commissioner's Office itself.